Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA)

From its founding in 2006 by three independent ODs in Portland, Ore., PECAA has grown from a small regional base in the northwest U.S. to comprise 1,370 members today. A “member’ under PECAA’s terminology might represent a single business entity with one office and one OD, or it could represent a multiple-office business with many ODs. As a result, the group’s aggregate totals are 1,880 locations that employ more than 2,512 doctors.

PECAA noted that it offers the “most competitive and comprehensive portfolio of services and profit-building tools” that are available to ECPs to position their business for future success. These include loyalty rebates, customized digital marketing programs, HR support, networking events such as peer-to-peer dinners and financial consulting, among other programs.

PECAA does not require a contract, and members have flexibility in all of their decision making. In addition, the group said it is “fully committed to providing business solutions that are equal to or greater than the cost of a monthly membership,” or the subsequent month is offered free.

“We’re always evolving,” general manager Jamie Hughes said in a recent interview with Vision Monday. He noted that PECCA views its services and tools for membership as coming under one of three key areas: economic, expertise and community.

Similar to other alliance or buying groups, PECAA understands the concept of creating better economics through aggregated purchasing. But Hughes said PECAA has evolved to offer an enhancement on the bulk-purchasing feature. “New partnerships that we are looking at today are usually focused on ways in which the practice can become more efficient or more profitable or deliver better patient care,” he said.

He also noted that “part of the reason that we’re not trying to get 400 partner logos on our website” is that an element of an alliance group’s offering back to the vendor community should be “some level of exclusivity.”

Yet, as an alliance group, he said PECAA comparatively offers members a high level of choice, with more than 70 vendor partnerships overall. “We offer the most major vendor players in the market, in our experience, in terms of having dedicated programming, including two premier level contact lens companies (Johnson & Johnson Vision and Alcon), three premier wholesale lab partners (Carl Zeiss Vision, Hoya and VSP Optics) and three distributors (ABB Optical Group, OOGP and WVA).

“Right there are eight key vendor players in the market, and they are in many ways the economic engine of a practice,” Hughes said. Additional premier vendor partners include RevolutionEHR, Luxottica and Marchon. “Our members have a tremendous amount of choice, through our various vendor programs, on who they are going to partner with in their practice,” he said.

Among the practice management tools that PECAA offers are a Member Business Advisor (MBA) program and the Glimpse dashboard to monitor a practice’s financial operations.

The MBA program is designed to give outside financial perspective to an ECP on the state of their business. The service is included in monthly membership fees and is available to PECAA members nationwide. The program starts with a comprehensive business assessment followed by an MBA advisor working with the practice to determine potential areas for financial improvement. The goal is to develop a structured plan to help the practice achieve the desired results.

Building “community” for ODs also is a critical part of the PECAA mission, Hughes noted. “Community for us is really the heart of what PECAA does and its origin and DNA,” he said. “When we were founded here in the Northwest, it was a small group of doctors who got together and recognized that they weren’t competitors. They started sharing information, best practices and even financial information.”

Their goals were to figure out how to get more patients in the office and enhance the practice’s performance. “Those early days of community still resonate and are a key part of what we do at PECAA,” he said.